Freebirth – the process of intentionally giving birth without the assistance of a medical birth attendant – the only kind of birth where you will find me.
Recently, a first time mother ask that I support her choice. Unlike most births, this woman came to me, she birthed in my home. Her environment wasn’t ideal for birth, but I made an exception as I do not offer women to birth in my current home. This was my high school best friend, so this was a special occasion. I would have done anything to preserve her first birth experience. Though, I never thought she would choose freebirth!
For a woman to choose freebirth, she must be able to disregard the societal idea of child birth. Birth is made out to be an emergency scenario that requires assistance, or death is imminent. As a young girl, I was told child birth is an emergent event filled with pain, requiring assistance to ensure life. This first time mother choosing freebirth saw past this. She saw her worth and ability. She knew what society will not tell her; that SHE CAN.
This particular mama did not decide until the end of pregnancy that she was choosing freebirth. She was fed up with the medical model of care. She would leave her appointments feeling broken, as if her body couldn’t grow a baby correctly. They made her feel anxious and discouraged in her ability as a first time mom. She was sick and tired of feeling this way! She did not tolerate this type of treatment. She said (excuse the language) “Fuck this, I got this”, more or less. No need for the mental and emotional abuse from mainstream care providers. She did not want any part of that, come end of pregnancy. She chose freebirth.
At 36 weeks & 4 days, we realized it was the day. We kept in contact during the day as contractions consumed her being. Eventually, she came over, her caring partner and sister joining her in sacred space. In a small room, my children’s bedroom actually. Periodically, I would check in on her, but left her alone for the most part as I know this is how birth is most successful, without watching eyes.
When aÂ first time mom chooses freebirth, she feels empowered. Before, during, and after. There are bouts of doubt, absolutely. This is conquered with the reminder that there is no safer space unless there is a need for emergent care. Which this badass mama knew, and kept in mind. She never once requested relief or transfer. She KNEW her ability. She knew this was the safest space for her to meet her daughter.
She had determination, gritting her teeth during her first experience of childbirth.
She would mention how she appreciated the breaks between contractions. She would refuse all suggestions, solely following her body, like an experienced navigator of physiological birth. As a Birthkeeper, this left me humbled at her confidence and power. Power that would leave anyone in the room trembling. There wasn’t doubt in her, in the end of her labor. All I could see was power and determination to get baby out. As we knew was imminent, after much vocalism and physical effort, she brought her baby earth side, completely free from assistance.
(Look at their faces though! Dad’s face, too – OMG!!)
Freebirth as a first time mother. Did you read that? She does not know the trauma she swerved from avoiding a facility, but I cry each time I recall. Her situation wasn’t the average, they would have ripped her through the wringer. I am so thankful and proud that she missed out on a facility birth, and experienced physiological birth, ignoring all societal indoctrination. As is she.
Her word on the experience: “There’s no other way I would’ve wanted to do it, Hospitals were completely out of the question, and there’s nobody else that I would’ve wanted there with me to do it. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but every second was worth it and it’s all history now, and I barely even remember. Its just Joy now.”
Here are Dad’s thoughts: “It was wild”
Yes Dad, birth is wild. Wild, primal, imitate, and so forth. Rightfully so!
When a first time mother chooses freebirth, she finds confidence and empowerment NO ONE can steal from her – ever. She did it, and so can you.